13. The Impact of Technology (Way of Knowing) (3 hours)
The justification for Ways of Knowing is the need for our students to become more broadly educated because our students will enter a world in which they will hold several different jobs, and perhaps even embark on a succession of careers during their lives. Equally important is the consideration that this education will make their lives richer and their outlook broader even in the unlikely event that demands on their expertise do not change. All of the Ways of Knowing are required to consider the ways in which gender, age, poverty, ethnicity and globalization fashion and influence our lives.
It is important for students to understand not only how a technology functions, but also how technology affects society. These courses are intended to develop students' abilities to make reasoned judgments about the impact of technological development upon world cultures and the environment as well as upon individuals and societies. This requirement may be filled within the major through a 3-credit specialized course, or a combination of courses that meet the prescribed outcomes.
Current courses that Committee A will review to meet this requirement include:
COMM 472T, New Media Technologies
CS 300T, Computers in Society
GEOG 306T, Hazards: Natural and Technological
HIST 304T, History of Medicine, Disease and Health Technology
HIST 309T, Technology and Civilization
IT 360T, Principles of Information Technology
MUSC 335T, Introduction to MIDI Technology
OPMT 303T, Operations Management and Technology
OTS 110T, Technology and Your World
OTS 370T, Technology and Society
PHIL 383T, Technology: Its Nature and Significance
POLS 350T, Technology and War
WMST 390T, Women and Technology Worldwide
Committee A encourages departments to develop new courses for this Way of Knowing that will have general appeal for the entire student body. Both lower and upper division courses may be submitted to meet the Impact of Technology Way of Knowing. Upper-division courses should be more rigorous than courses proposed at the lower division.
Upon completing this Way of Knowing, students will be able to:
- describe the use and development of a given technology as a human and cultured activity
- understand and describe the components, mechanisms and function of a technological system, such as information and communication, finance, energy production, industrial production, food production, international trade, transportation, education etc.
- discuss the impact that a given technology may have on its users: how it may change users' conception of reality and what users' perceptions and biases are toward it
- understand and describe the potential consequences, both intended and unintended, of a given technology for individuals, nations, societies and the environment
- express informed opinions about the cost/benefit relationship of a given technology, with considerations for development or controlled limitations
- understand and describe how technology has enabled the pace of change and interdependency that have accelerated globalization
- describe the role of technology in defining ideas of progress and modernism
Note: Most students will receive thorough technological training within the scope of their chosen majors. Committee A considers the impact of technology on world cultures and societies to be a more pressing issue for students to consider. How does technology change individual lives for better or worse? Is technology neutral or non-neutral? Further, students should be given the opportunity to examine the technological imperatives and historical impacts generated within their discipline to answer this question.
Committee A considers the current retinue of T courses as a suitable groundwork for building this Way of Knowing. Although several T courses are intended for majors, Committee A would encourage departments to design courses about the impact of technology within their disciplines that would be designed for, and informative to, the entire student body.